Oackliff Match Racing

This past weekend I participated in another match race regatta, this time in New York.  I sailed with Landon Gardner, Matt Ryder, Mark, and Amelia Leeksma. My job on the boat was main trimmer and tactician. The boats we used for this regatta were Swedish match 40’s which look a lot like a smaller version of the old America’s cup mono hulls.

We arrived on Friday and got a few hours of practice in, most of us had never sailed together on a team before so it took some time to figure out our jobs on the boat.  On Saturday we had steady wind over 20 knots with gust in the high 20’s, the race committee decided that we would race without spinnakers due to safely and to minimize damage.10408078_10100951031368121_5217341027469789822_n

In one of our matched we had an interesting situation where we entered the starting area for our start but the other boat that entered from the other side was not our competitor which we did not realize at the time.  We did most of our pre-start with the wrong boat and then at the last minute leading into the start we were joined by a third boat which was our real match partner.  Needless to say there was a lot of confusion and yelling and we even received a penalty while trying to figure out who we were sailing against.

The biggest take away from this situation was that we need to know specifically who we are racing against, not just what match we are and from what end we are entering  in case someone enters at the wrong time so we can signal that to the umpires.  Sadly the way the rules are written you can’t get redress for someone interfering in your match unless it is intentional which would mean it would fall under rule 2, fair sailing. It was a good learning experience and just reinforced that you have to cover all your basses so if someone else makes a mistake you don’t get hurt.

The forecast for Sunday was for well over 30 knots gusting in the 40’s so the race committee pushed to finish the round robin on Saturday, which resulted in us sailing from 10 am to sundown which was at around 6 pm.

Sadly like predicted Sunday was blown out with wind gusting in the low 50’s, so after a long debrief with the umpires were we went through some of the situations from the day before, the racing was canceled.  We ended up  8th of 10 boats with a 33% record, we felt that we should have won 2 or 3 more matches which we lost because of silly mistakes that we shouldn’t have made but in the end we were there to learn. One of the big things that held us back was that most of us had never sailed a boat that big in that much wind, so it took us a while to get up to speed with everyone else. The upside was that I got to spend some time in New York which was a first for me.

This was my third weekend of match racing in the last month I have really enjoyed it and I hope to keep doing it as cross training for laser sailing. The racing is very intense and each race is usually only 12-15 minutes long.  I learnt a lot over the last month and I hope that in the future that I get together with some of the other national team members and put a steady team together.


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